THE BLOG
03/27/2012 10:44 am ET Updated May 27, 2012

To My Internet Service Provider: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, But I'm Doing It!

"Yeah, when the cows come home I'll get that call." That's what I muttered to myself when a well-known but not-to-be-named Internet service provider's customer service rep promised to have a "supervisor" call me after the tier one person and the tier two person could not resolve my email failure -- the third such failure in a week.

I am still waiting for that call, but even if I receive it in a frozen hell, there is no going back. This relationship is so over.

When a relationship dies, there's often a need to do a post-breakup postmortem, and this compulsion is even stronger when the relationship was fraught with dysfunction and, well, ongoing rage. I know I will feel better if I can get some dilution. If I can externalize my frustration onto you, dear readers, it will spread the pain around and relieve me of some of mine. Sorry.

It all began on the day I met... let's call him Cam Costa. He came by to install the wires that would deliver phone, cable and high-speed Internet to my home in a pricey, only-game-in-town-type bundled package. Things were looking good. I liked him immediately. He was super enthusiastic! This guy loved his job. It was a beautiful June day and Cam got to work immediately placing a ladder against the side of my house and drilling holes through the siding to accommodate the wires. I warned him there were sometimes bees around the shutters, and he cheerfully brushed my concerns aside. "Oh yes," he chirped, "there are lots of bees this time of year! I'm highly allergic, but I carry an EpiPen, so no worries."

That concerned me. That is just not the kind of thing you want to hear.

Within minutes Cam had been stung. He shouted through my screen door, "Excuse me, ma'am, but one of those little suckers just nailed me, can you call 911?"

Damn. Why on Earth would a guy this deathly allergic to bees do this kind of job? I immediately dialed 911 while mentally scrambling to remember what I'd learned about using an EpiPen, thinking that surely it would be different than the times I'd practiced it on grapefruits during training sessions in the schools where I'd worked.

The 911 operator came on the line quickly. Let's call her Peg.

Peg: What's your emergency?

Me: There's a guy here installing cable and he got stung by a bee. He says he's highly allergic and needs an ambulance.

Peg: Where is he now?

Me: I assume he's by his truck. Hold on. Oh my God, no, he isn't, he's at the top of the telephone pole across the street!

Peg: What is he doing up there? Tell him he must come down.

Me: I have NO IDEA why he went up there. Hang on. "Cam! I'm on the phone with 911. They say you must come down!"

Cam: (from a great height) I've got to finish quick. Soon I'm going to get dizzy and start losing my vision!

Me: Peg, he says he needs to stay up there! He says he's going to go blind! What do I do??

Peg: Tell him he MUST come down immediately. I've dispatched an ambulance.

Me: Ok. "Cam, an ambulance is coming but you MUST come down right away. You could fall and get seriously hurt. PLEASE come down!"

Cam: I can't see very well... I don't feel so hot...

Me: Peg, he's getting woozy up there and won't come down!

Peg: You must try to get him to come down!

Me: (starting to cry a little bit) I'm TRYING! "Cam, COME DOWN NOW!!"

A few minutes later, he'd descended the pole shakily, miraculously, stumbled back across the street, and collapsed on my front lawn. He was unconscious. That's why he didn't hear me when I shouted, "Where is your EpiPen??!!"

Shaking him didn't work either. As I started going through his pockets in a complete panic, the ambulance arrived. EMT's jumped out, EpiPenned him with their own instrument, hoisted him onto a gurney, started an IV, possibly used one of those defibrillator things on his chest but it was hard to see through the crowd of paramedics encircling him, and quickly sped him off to the local community hospital, where he was admitted overnight. I called to check on him later that evening and was told he would be OK, but they did not know when he'd be released. And that was a bummer because he'd left his enormous truck in my driveway and I could not get to work.

About 24 hours later, Cam returned to get his truck and to let me know another installation guy would be by the next day to finish the job. I asked him if he was OK and why he does a job like this given that it could kill him. He cheerfully responded, "Sh*t happens!"

It sure does. And it kept happening for five more years until I needed to escape this unhealthy relationship and recover my sanity.

So I say to the worst Internet service provider in the world, to whom I have given dozens of hours of my time over the years dealing with their incompetent customer service and tech support professionals and their highly unstable platform, goodbye and good riddance.

Hoo boy, sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs!

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